İskenderun (Alexandretta), Turkey

İskenderun’s 15 minutes of fame came with its cameo appearance in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusadebut in fact this is quite a historic port.

Originally called Alexandretta, İskenderun (eess-KEHN-deh-roon, pop. 175,000), at the far end of the Turkish Mediterranean coast, was founded by Alexander the Great (Büyük İskender in Turkish) as a port.

It’s still an important port today (map).

Iskenderun, Turkey
İskenderun’s modern waterfront today…

But unless you’re passing through by ship, there’s little to detain you, although the Sokollu Mehmet Pasha Caravansaray in nearby Payas, 22 km (14 miles) to the north, and its neighboring Fortress of the Genies (Cin Kalesi) are worth a look. More…

Otherwise you’re probably on your way to or from Antakya (Hatay, Antioch-ad-Orontes) and its famous Roman mosaics and cave-church of St. PeterBus is the best way to go.

I’ve written about my adventures in Old İskenderun and the province of Hatay in two excerpts from my travel memoir Bright Sun, Strong Tea entitled What’s in a Name? and The Bile Green Color Wasn’t the Worst of It.

Distances & Travel Times

Adana: 130 km (81 miles) SE, 2 hours

Antakya: 58 km (36 miles) S, 1 hour

Gaziantep: 152 km (94 miles) NE, 3 hours

—by Tom Brosnahan

Payas (Yakacık)

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